Thinking about participating in this year’s Hiking Spree? The Ruskin Trail is a great first step – a way to see if the annual series of hikes is for you.
The paved, 1.2-mile trail at the Ruskin Park & Recreation Center, 901 Sixth St. S.E., is an undemanding trek for anyone: families with small children, people who use walkers or wheelchairs and dogs on leashes.
The lighted, all-purpose pathway is dubbed “easy” in hiking parlance. That means it’s simple to traverse and a splendid starting point for people who are interested in the Hiking Spree but don’t want to begin with a rugged, lengthy trail through thick woods.
The Ruskin Trail is nothing like that. Along with palm and hardwood trees, squirrels and other native flora and fauna, you’ll pass the neighborhood park’s new covered basketball courts and street hockey rink. The trail surrounds a large grassy field that’s ideal for picnicking. Or bring a ball to catch or kick before continuing your hike. Back at the rec center you’ll find an outdoor playground where kids can work off any remaining energy.
Though the Ruskin Trail is not among the Hiking Spree’s most challenging treks, it’s wise to wear sturdy shoes and carry plenty of water, a hat and sunscreen. You also might want to bring a camera or your mobile phone for photos.
The Ruskin complex, also known as Baudette Neighborhood Park, has an array of programming slated to begin in the New Year: Toddler P.E., Tone and Stretch, pickleball and a youth hockey league, among other offerings. The center’s programming and amenities are typical of those provided by Parks & Recreation and available throughout Hillsborough County. For more information, visit www.hillsboroughcounty.org/en/residents/recreation-and-culture/parks.